A mosque at Ground Zero?

Illario Pantano Contributor
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“Cordoba Center” sounds comfortably latino and almost familiar in a multi-ethnic city like New York. The name’s Spanish origin has a little bit of history too: the Cordoba Mosque in Spain symbolized a gateway to Muslim conquest of Western Europe – a conquest which today is unfolding in real time. But as disturbing as the sharia invasion of the EU might be, my concern is the new $100 million mosque that will sit smugly just 600 feet from Ground Zero.

This new Cordoba Mosque will occupy a building that was literally struck by pieces of an exploding passenger aircraft deliberately piloted into the World Trade Center by martyrs shouting “Allahu-akbar.” The suggestion that this mysteriously funded mosque is anything other than a permanent demonstration of Islam’s march on the West is naïve at best.

I used to work in one of the buildings that was destroyed (4 WTC) in downtown Manhattan where 3,000 graves and 300,000,000 nightmares mark the scorching of our national psyche. It is almost profane to consider that the number of innocents who perished is blessedly small compared to the devious intent of the plot’s jihadist masterminds. Mega-mass murder was interrupted by the selfless heroism of a brave few that charged into the inferno. Thousands of lives were saved that September day by heroes whose sacrifices should never be forgotten. But forgetting is something this society does shamefully well. So is lying to ourselves.

This Cordoba Mosque is not benign. This is not about reconciliation or understanding. If this was truly about bridging cultures, we should be erecting a church because it was Christians who were targeted for murder, not Muslims. This is about marking religious, ideological and territorial conquest. The Mosque is a martyr marker, and it must be stopped.

Denying the true intent of a new Mosque at Ground Zero is the worst kind of lie. And ignoring the symbolism of its location is a dereliction of duty. Travel the graves at Fort Hood if you think that ignoring the truth in favor of “cultural reconciliation” doesn’t have consequences. Failing to be honest about the Islamo-facist threats we face and who is behind them caused 13 people to die and 30 more to be wounded. Major Hassan was able to commit his act of jihad on a US Army base because even soldiers were afraid to do their duty. Fear of death was eclipsed by the bureaucratic stigma of being deemed “intolerant”.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reported that the pace and number of attempted terror attacks against the U.S. over the past nine months has surpassed the number of attempts during any previous one-year period. Do you really think that the trend slows down, if we reward the bad behavior with a Martyr-Marker?

If Mosques go up like mushrooms everywhere there is a bombing or a shooting we will create a perverse incentive, not a deterrent. This mosque at Ground Zero will serve as a big Trojan trophy; and we are welcoming it? I was deeply disappointed to learn that the local Manhattan community board and Mayor Bloomberg were complicit in this sell-out of monumental proportions. Were they bought out wholesale by the same folks that could mysteriously produce millions in cash to buy a building and not leave a trace? Or were they simply bullied?

Is Mayor Bloomberg afraid that his namesake building might get turned to match sticks if he offends the wrong crew? After all, they’ll kill you for a cartoon. Or does the threat of beheading on video, a la Daniel Pearl, pale in comparison to the risk of being labeled “extremist” by Muslim advocacy groups or the liberal media that supports them? I can’t pretend to get into the head of the local community board, but having faced “headless” death threats from jihadists myself, and the withering wrath of the liberal media, I know how persistent these buggers can be.

The insult of the Ground Zero mosque is compounded by the use of federal dollars to make it possible. This is not just a “local” community board issue, nor a mayoral issue. This is a national issue. Reconstruction and security costs are being paid for by taxpayers from North Dakota to North Carolina. Ground Zero is a national war memorial, and so long as federal funds go to preserve, protect and rebuild it, a federal voice should be heard. In 2009 alone, $475 million dollars in DHS grants were spent on security for New York. The American people have a say, and if there is no mechanism for Congress to outright stop the Mosque, then at the very least there must be an investigation into the source of funding behind this affront so that when it is completed on September 11, 2011, the American people will know who to thank.

One thank-you note can be struck early for the mosque’s front man: Kuwaiti-born Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, Rauf is also the CEO of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). But he’s more than just an apologist for the religion-based sharia law, which many experts see as being in direct opposition to the U.S. Constitution. Rauf is also a key member of the Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization, which is reportedly the single biggest donor to the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) and its affiliated activists. Those activists include former Weather Underground founders William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, as well as Jodie Evans, the leader of Code Pink: Women for Peace (see http://www.discoverthenetworks.org for information on this web of leftist relationships).

You might recall the “Free Gaza” team organized the six-ship flotilla that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. It seems that when Imam Rauf isn’t raising money for martyr-markers in Manhattan, he’s busy funding international incidents to cast aspersions on Israel. By the way, did anyone else notice how nicely that fabricated flotilla photo-op dovetailed as a cover for Iranian nuclear activity? James Cameron couldn’t have choreographed it better.

Am I the only one that notices that every time Iran’s weaponization is about to be a focal point of world attention, it creates a crisis through its proxies by provoking Israel? I didn’t dream the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah, did I? Just as the world prepares to get tough with Iran, the rain of missiles begins to fall, only this time it’s life preservers.

Now the world stage is focused on isolating our only democratic ally in the Middle East, and members of the Obama administration and the left are intent on abandoning the Israelis just as they did last year with Poland and our missile defenses in Europe. After 5,000 rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, how can anyone say “moral parity” with a straight face? The American Left can. Today, the cover of the snarky Economist magazine asks “What is wrong with America’s Right?” But they answered their own question by reporting that “A gap in sympathy for Israel has widened between Democrats and Republicans. Conservatives still tend to back Israel through hell and high seas.” Well that’s one gap, I’m proud to stand on the right side of.

The other gap I’m proud to stand on the right side of is Iran’s credibility gap. As the UN prepares its fourth set of ineffective sanctions in as many years, Iran has once again managed to sidestep the yoke of culpability, and will continue developing nuclear weapons undeterred. Speaking of flotillas, the Iranians run a shipping scheme which bamboozles investigators with its shell game approach to false registration, renaming and outright scoffing of western efforts to track cargoes. And yet we are told that we are supposed to trust them? Given that we have no clue on the working of over 50% of Iran’s fleet, according to the New York Times, is it any wonder that Israel wants to stop and search boats? Maybe we’ll find some of that cash coming over to pay for mosques in America.

Ilario Pantano enlisted in the Marine Infantry at age 17 and fought in the Gulf War. After witnessing the attacks of 9/11, Pantano returned to the Marines and fought in Falluja as an Infantry officer. He is currently the GOP nominee for the US Congress in North Carolina’s 7th District.